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Not so fast, Californians: Waste Management's message for spring cleaning during the pandemic

Waste Management of Southern California is doing its best to keep up with the new demand in residential neighborhoods.
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If you feel like you're making more trips to the dumpster or recycling bin lately, you're probably right. After all, all those cardboard delivery boxes really add up.

Waste Management of Southern California is racing against overflowing garbage and recycling bins. Since people are staying home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that also means they’re producing more waste at home. 

“With most communities we serve under stay-at-home orders, we've seen a significant increase in residential container weights,” said Mary Hartley, Communications Specialist for Waste Management of Southern California. “At the peak in April, the residential line of business had a 25% increase in the amount of waste disposed. As we progressed through the month, the rate of volume decline improved."

At first, Hartley said it was normal for their employees to see fuller trash and recycling bins in March and April because of spring break. However, spring break is long gone, yet Waste Management is still seeing the impact of cabin fever.

“We are seeing waste shift from our commercial channels to our residential line of business as people are staying home in greater numbers,” said Hartley.

May is usually prime time for spring cleaning, especially if you need a productive, at-home project to occupy your newfound time. However, before you channel your inner Marie Kondo, Waste Management wants to encourage Californians to clean house in a smart way.

“We encourage customers to incorporate waste reduction and environmentally-friendly practices into their spring cleaning, which can include choosing durable and reusable cleaning rags instead of paper towels and upcycling large items such as headboards and chairs to create something new without contributing to the waste stream,” said Hartley. 

Here are some final pointers: 

1). Visit your local thrift store or donation center to ensure your gently-used clothes get a second life.  

2). Old paint, chemicals, and cleaners are not acceptable in the trash or recycling. Each city has its own resources for safely disposing of hazardous materials.

3). Sign up for COVID-19 service alerts in case there are any changes to waste and recycling service in your neighborhood.

4).Latex and other disposable gloves, face masks, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must go in the trash – not your recycling container. 

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